Journal of
Media and Communication Studies

  • Abbreviation: J. Media Commun. Stud.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2545
  • DOI: 10.5897/JMCS
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 223

Full Length Research Paper

Mobile communication and the culture of self-expression: The case of smsing to radio in Ghana

Wincharles Coker
Department of Communication Studies, University of Cape Coast, Ghana.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 23 May 2012
  •  Published: 31 October 2012



Over the last two decades, mobile telephony has wrought a tremendous impact on interpersonal communication over the world. In Ghana, however, the communicative significance of this new media as a means of promoting the culture of self-expression, particularly on the radio, is relatively unknown. In this paper, I examine the uses and gratifications of approximately 500 SMS texts, arguably the commonest new media, on the panel discussions of two major radio networks, drawing on Katz et al.’s (1974) uses and gratifications theory. Key findings showed that posting messages on radio panel discussions (RPDs) is motivated by six major gratifications, prominent among which are ideological formations and expressions of dissatisfaction about personal, social and national issues. These findings not only characterise RPDs as a unique discourse type, but quintessentially reveal the nature of participatory democracy on RPDs in Ghana. The findings bear theoretical implications as well as raise concerns for media practice.


Key words: Mobile communication, SMS, self-expression, gratification, radio panel discussion